Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A year without Pistolero part DOS ?

With headlines everyday about Alberto Contador and his possible suspension, I have started to ponder a year or two without the Pistolero.  We did the same type of pondering last year, and some of the predictions about his riding proved to be true. The year of the Pistolero or Not?

As I have admitted in previous blogs, I have had a like him/ hate him sports fan perspective on Conta.  With Chain Gate, my initial reaction was that it was Bush league and had no place in the top level of the sport.

At the time I thought Chain Gate was a horrible display, and I was rooting for the lanky one to take back the time on Conta. Then the TDF played out and Andy's SCHLECKnd attitude brought me full circle with the Spaniard.  Sometimes sports force you to root for one athlete over the other - Bird or Magic, Brady or Manning, Lance or Jan.  Conta vs Andy.... it's very easy for me to pull for the guy that WANTS it and shows he knows how to finish.  In truth, Andy Schleck got me back on the Contador bandwagon with being a bit on the SOFT side. With time to think about it, many of us would have done the same thing as Alberto.  We are human and flawed....many of us are a bit more Conta down deep than Andy.  Whether we like to admit it or not, our inner "black hat" is a bit more likely to come out than our "white"one.
The Schlecks are a bit on the soft side (Marshmallow Peeps kinda soft)  when it comes to having a killer instinct

As most of us do, I think a lot while out riding.  With some time to reflect on Contador's 2011 season, I realized/remembered a few things.

*Dramatic story of a near death experience, to Grand Tour winner (As fans, we like those stories... especially in A-Merika!)
* Regardless of the help needed (Rasmussen ejection) or how close some of the victories were, he has won 5 GRAND TOURS... All 3 Grand Tours not just 1 of them multiple times. Really let that one sink in! That is the combined GC wins of Ivan Basso & Denis Menchov.

* He and his team got screwed out of the TDF in 08 (Anti-Astana/ Anti-Johan/Lance or whatever the reason) Without him we had the MOST forgettable Tour in....um.... a long.... LONG TIME! Who won that again?!? Carlos...zzzzzz

* I thought the cobbles at the 2010 edition of the Tour would end him, instead he did a very solid job with  them and went on to another win!  He wanted no part of riding that type of race, but he prepared and used it to gain some time instead of lose time.

* He is damn good for TV viewing!  As a sports fan, there are athletes you love & ones you love to hate.  Either way, you tune in to watch them.  He is one of those guys & I think the sport needs him for engagement sake.  Overall,  he is more like Lance than most US fans might realize and that means he is one to watch (to root for or against).  He has a wicked desire to win, he is a smart athlete that knows how to seize the moment even if it might require damage control later. He would rather be off the podium if he isn't on the top step.  He is egocentric, he is not a nice guy on the bike, and he will do whatever it takes. Yep, Lance was all of those things as well....and as I have stated many times I liked every bit it from LA (No Gifts, The Look,  Simeoni gate)!

I will say this and own it: Doped or not guilty, I hope he is riding in top form next year!  I want to watch Conta vs Cadel vs Schleck vs Wiggo at the TDF!

If Conta is 2nd TDF winner stripped in the last 5 years that means, This is now the 2nd times in the last 100 years!  Does this mean that cycling is closing the gap on the dopers, or are they throwing out a sacrificial lamb?  As Floyd Landis explained in our Twitter exchanges earlier this year, Alberto is not the most likable and is a big name, so a good target.  He lacks the "cancer shield" Lance carried so he is fair game.  Would it make the sport any cleaner?  Would it really make any rider pause and not take drugs?  Did the Festina affair or Op Puerto really do that?

I know what some of you are asking "Don't I want a clean sport?" I do! But I am also an optimistic realist, I know that there are 70 year old Masters racers doping and the French Cat 3 kid that was positive for 12 different drugs.  It has been part of the sport since 1900 will always be there. I do want a clearer sport, but I know it will never be squeaky clean and 100% "Pure". No twibbon band is going to change someone's mind that is that close to their dreams & financial security.

Honestly who are we to judge one rider against another?  Contador's winning margins are less that past Grand Tour winners like Lance, Basso, Merckx, etc.  So is that some kind of proof that he is clean or pretty clean? Our current favorite riders can all be tied directly or by 1 degree to a doping team, teammate, Dr. or director.  For example: Cadel Evans (time with T-Mobile 03-04), Andy Schleck (Riding for Riis & his brothers payments to Fuentez, etc), Cav having a missed test in 2011.

Either way I am looking forward to the 2012 season!  I am just rooting for a season with a certain Spaniard racing it!

Thanks for reading!  Check out our line of Cycling T's, Hoodies & Kits @ www.hbstache.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

Andy Schleck can win the 2012 TDF if....

We decided to to lay out how the Lanky Lux can win the 2012 Tour de France in response to this tweet @ us earlier today:
@hbstache He @andy_schleck is going to win the TdF this year. Even a good chance he'll win it twice... #againstallods
#1 There will need to be a massive crash crash like the one in 2003 that took out or hurt most of the GC contenders.  Andy will need to have Cadel, Conta, Basso, Wiggo and maybe even Levi hit the deck.  Team Nissan RadioSchack is researching what type of spectacles could cause this level of crash:

*Truth be told, Andy will need to have Frank  home as well; all that Schlooking around costs time and effort.

#2 Andy has to be okay with swapping bikes at the top of climbs (kind of a reverse Contador).  He might loose a bit of time putting on the armor & full face helmet but he at least he will have a fighting chance of making it down the descent in one piece.

#3 Andy will need Johan’s proposed UCI TT rule change to be approved.  The new rule would allow a teammate to ride Grand Tour TT’s for their leader.  "Hey Fabian take it a bit easy on your TT, save some for Andy’s."  When this idea was shared with Fabian, he responed in Fabanese “I am bit worried about Tony Martin, but he is busy with Chavenel’s pillow so it ok.  I ride hard for Andy!”

#4  A huge doping scandal could help his chances as well; something that will take out around a third of the field.  Think of what it would look like if 1998 met Op Puerto.  If Dr. Fuentez drove the Festina-mobile to the Saxo, BMC, & Sky team hotels with his cooler in the passenger seat. Andy is a lock for the top step (unless Frank bought "training plans" from Fuentez again)!

There is a chance Andy might end up as the  winner of the 2010 TDF if Conta gets  suspended.  But, Andy will always be SCHLECKnd to us!  

You can buy the Tee here:

Thanks for reading.  Check out the rest of our cycling Tees (Men's & Women's), hoodies & kits www.hbstache.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

NEW Handlebar Mustache kits PRE-ORDER

We have 2 new kits to offer in this limited PRE-ORDER.  Buy 'em now these are limited edition! THESE WILL NOT BE OFFERED AFTER THE PRE-ORDER.

 The jerseys are Pre-Order priced @ $80 & the bibs @ $100 (Jan 5th-Jan 12th)

 These are available in either race or club cut/ Men's or Women's sizes XS-XXL

Buy NOW:

Vintage Plaid Wheel & Stache:

Vintage wheelmen meets lycra with some plaid mixed in (tartan is light blue, kelly green & yellow)!  This is the 1st time we are using our new penny farthing Wheel & Stache logo:

Pink Knobby Tire Wheel & Stache:

We were long time fans of the T-Mobile kits! With personal plans to race on dirt more this year, we thought, what would Jan Ulrich wear if he was tearing up single track? BOOM!    

(Includes our personal motto: WTF is ZONE 2? on the sleeve & lower back)

A portion of the sales from each kit will go to Ride For Reading! 

Buy NOW: @ hbstache.com